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“Thumbs Down” by Jaz Jacobi

 

I hate the Kardashians. I hate all of the reality shows. I hate most of what’s on TV, on the radio, and at the multiplex. It’s not that I’m especially negative, I’m just a snob. I don’t just want art, I want good art. When I watch or read the news, I don’t just want to be informed, I want to be enlightened. In short, I’m a very demanding consumer. I demand more than the media wants to give me.

The Kardashian/Jenner clan makes the news a lot, so in my list of news sites on Facebook that I like to read, those people pop up a lot. More than I’d like to see. Far more than is ever relevant to most of my interests. So the question became: how can I read the news I want from sites I like without swimming through Kardashian/Jenner sludge?

With the shared links, there’s a little arrow to the side of them with a dropdown list. In that dropdown list, there is the option to “hide post.” When I found that, I started to “hide post” to every Kardashian/Jenner post in my feed. After a couple days of this, they started to disappear.

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However, all is not well. Sometimes an article about pregnancy risks would feature a picture of a pregnant Kim Kardashian, or an article about transgender rights or health issues would use a picture of Caitlyn Jenner. Then the articles actually about the Kardashian/Jenner tribe would slowly start to creep back. So, it’s something of a cycle, but it is an interesting insight into how the Facebook feed functions.

What I’ve come to resent is that the algorithms Facebook uses to “feed” me articles act like they know what I want to read more than I do. I also dislike how most of what’s being pushed the hardest seems to be the most stupid, or maybe my taste isn’t as discriminating as I like to think. Either way, I’ve found that “hiding” the stuff* that I think is a waste of time has made my social media time more useful. I think if more people were to make use of this function in the same way, it would be interesting to see how the news is tailored in response.

 

*In addition to the Kardashian/Jenner family, I’ve also started to use the function on other corners of pop culture I despise as well—those awful Real Housewives of Bravo, or anything pertaining to Victoria’s Secret.

 

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